In October 2020, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) announced it had awarded a carbon dioxide (CO₂) appraisal and storage licence (CS licence) to Eni UK Limited (Eni). The CS licence will cover an area located within the Liverpool Bay area of the East Irish Sea. Under the CS licence, we plan to reuse and repurpose depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs (the Hamilton, Hamilton North and Lennox fields) and associated infrastructure, to permanently store CO₂ captured in North West England and North Wales. The application for a CS licence was made by Eni in order to help address the decarbonisation needs of the region. It forms part of a collaborative effort with industrial companies to capture and transport CO₂ from existing industries, along with future hydrogen production sites for fuel switching, heating, power and transportation. HyNet North West will place the region at the forefront of the UK’s journey to net zero emissions by 2050. We expect the project to benefit local communities by creating new job opportunities and assist to develop the economy of the area whilst providing a tangible pathway to energy transition and decarbonisation. In March 2021 the project received £33 million in funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), through its Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge (IDC) fund. The funding covers around 50% of the investment necessary to finalise ongoing planning studies with the aim of the site becoming operational by 2025.
In May 2021 Eni and Progressive Energy Limited have announced the signing of a framework agreement to further accelerate carbon capture and storage (CCS) within the HyNet North West low carbon cluster project. Under the agreement, Eni will develop and operate both the onshore and offshore transportation and storage of CO₂ in their Liverpool Bay assets, whilst Progressive Energy will lead and coordinate the capture and hydrogen aspects of the project on behalf of Hynet North West, thereby linking together the sources of CO₂ emissions to Eni’s transportation and storage infrastructure.